Book Review: The Illusion of Separateness

The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy, is a novel that weaves together six characters from all over the world, spans from the years 1930-2010, and shows that no matter how separate these characters appear to be from one another, they have more in common than it seems.

The novel tells the stories of Martin, a retirement home employee who never knew his birth parents, Mr. Hugo, a Germany infantryman with a severe physical deformity, Amelia, a young blind woman who wants to be loved, Danny, a famous film director making a list of everyone who has loved him, and John and Harriet, newlyweds who are separated when John leaves to fight during World War II. 

Van Booy’s writing is poetic and musical. The novel is ironically beautiful, no matter how dark the characters’ stories are. While these characters seem to be worlds apart, in different decades and countries, Van Booy eloquently weaves these stories together to show the significance of the novel’s title: no matter how “alone” we may feel, maybe separateness is only an illusion.


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